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Monday, October 25th
LifeLoans is one of several referral services in our review. These platforms require you to fill in a short online form so that they can match you with partner lenders for a home improvement loan. For many reasons, LifeLoan earns its rock-bottom position in our rankings.
Nothing troublesome at first
At first, LifeLoans looks fairly similar to other home improvement loan referral providers. You start by selecting your desired loan amount in the dropdown box, as well as the reason for your loan, then entering your email, date of birth, and current amount of credit card debt. So far, so good. The next page goes into more detail: you get to enter your full name and address, how often you get paid and with what type of employment, as well as your phone number and full SSN. (Though, for reasons you'll soon understand, we recommend that you hold off on giving them accurate information there!) At the end of the form, there is a checkbox to consent to be contacted by phone/text; you can leave the box unchecked and still submit your information to be considered.
Exactly where does your personal information go?
When we did that, we were redirected to a third-party loan provider. Our details had carried over from the LifeLoans site, but we were still asked to confirm the last four digits of our SSN. Exactly how many lenders had been given our full Social Security Number? We had no idea. (Good thing we used a sample profile and not our actual details!) Could we trust the lender we were passed along to? Again, no idea: LifeLoans doesn't disclose any of the names of the partners in their network until you fill out the online application.
Many business names for the same poor service
LifeLoans doesn't have much in the way of a solid reputation. We couldn't find a listing with the Better Business Bureau under that name, but when we searched the BBB using the contact phone number listed on LifeLoans' website, voila: a listing for a completely separate business name (Next Day Personal Loan) at the same address. That business had an "F" rating and a handful of consumer complaints registered there. As a matter of fact, we found a surprising number of "businesses" all registered to that phone number and address: Lending For Bad Credit, 100 Lenders, Swift Funders, and Cash Corner, to name a few. None of them had anything but an "F" from the Better Business Bureau.
Looking at the fine print in the application process, we spotted the parent company name for all of these "lenders" : Search ROI LLC. Does that sound like a place to get a home improvement loan that's really going to work hard for you - or more like a way for someone else to make money when you provide your information? We think it definitely sounds like the latter, don't you?
Zero reason to use this site
Taking out a home improvement loan can be a sensitive transaction, and you want to ensure that your finances are in good hands. There's nothing about LifeLoans that gives us any indication that they're deserving of your trust. You'll be better off with a higher-rated source of home improvement loans.
If you're looking to finally renovate that kitchen straight out of the 70's, or build on the extra bedroom you need, chances are good that you don't just have the cash sitting around to get it done. Most homeowners use a home improvement loan to access the funds required to turn their house into a "home sweet home" .
There are several types of financing that can be used to make improvements or repairs. These depend on a variety of factors: the amount of equity you have already built up in your property, your credit history, and the amount of money you need.
If you have little equity in your home - in other words, you haven't made many payments on your mortgage yet, and you didn't put down much money at closing - you'll most likely use a home improvement loan to fund your projects. These loans are based on your overall credit history; the higher your credit score and the lower your debts, the better rates and terms you'll get.
On the other hand, if you've built up equity in your home, you'll be able to access three other types of home improvement loans: cash-out refinancing, a home equity loan (HEL), and a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Each type has its ins and outs, and not every loan type is appropriate for a particular borrowing need. For example, a cash-out refinance is great if you can reset your mortgage at a much lower interest rate - but it also comes with closing costs (which can sometimes be rolled back into the loan amount). HELOCs let you take money out as-needed, but interest rates can be higher than some home equity loans and are often adjustable: your payments may increase in the future.
As you can see, choosing a home improvement loan leaves you with some research to do. While considering your options, here are some guidelines to help clarify which service you should use:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for home improvement loans available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the money you need for your next big project!
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